Growing up with my four sisters, I saw my parents struggle with their laundry and dry-cleaning
Despite a stubborn pay disparity
and an often unbreakable glass ceiling, women are driving the world’s
economy. Women control 70 percent of global consumer spending, and 75
percent of women identify themselves as the primary shoppers for their
households. A record 40 percent of American households now have women
serving as the primary or sole breadwinners. How can women harness this
consumer spending power and use it to attain financial security,
especially when it is needed most, in retirement?
The majority of American women are facing a retirement security
crisis. Women on average save about 7 percent of pay. Of lower-income
retirees in California, 70 percent are women. Women age 65 and older
living in poverty outnumber men by more than two to one. Adding to the
money crunch, women at age 65 are expected to live another 19 years –
three years longer than men. Single women face a greater hurdle without
the added financial support of a dual-income household to pay living
expenses and the cost of raising children. These sobering statistics
should come as no surprise because retirement benefits are based on the
accumulation of lifetime earnings.
The gender pay gap in California stands at 84 percent.
A new report found that rather than the gradual improvement we have
seen in the past, the gender pay gap is widening. Another reason for the
disparity: more women are employed part-time and
work for smaller employers less likely to offer pensions or
employer-sponsored retirement plans. Closing the pay gap would not only
help fund women’s retirement but would increase pay into Social
Security, potentially ensuring everyone’s retirement security in the
long run. ...
The Opinion Pages | CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER
The Abortion Map Today
IN his smart opinion piece last week, “A Mason-Dixon Line of Progress,” Timothy Egan noted the “retreat to bigotry” sweeping across the old South as politicians clinging to the past (under the banner of religious freedom) line up to authorize discrimination against gay people. The column prompted me to think about whether the battlegrounds in the never-ending abortion wars display a similar geographic concentration.
The answer is that to a startling degree they don’t. The battleground is much bigger. With the exception of the West Coast and most (but not all) of the Northeast, recently enacted abortion restrictions can be found almost everywhere.
Since 2011, 10 states, from the Canadian border to the Great Lakes to the Southwest, have each imposed 10 or more new barriers to access to legal abortion. An additional 21 states have enacted between one and 10 restrictions — the lower number in some cases simply reflecting a state’s creativity in having already adopted a long menu of anti-abortion measures.
It comes as no great surprise that each of the top 10 states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas — only four of which were part of the Confederacy) is headed by a Republican governor. Politics — political culture — outweighs geography.
The Supreme Court is now considering a Texas law that imposes unnecessary and unattainable requirements on abortion clinics in the name of protecting women’s health. The requirements that clinic doctors obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and that the clinics retrofit themselves as small hospitals threatens to force most of the state’s remaining clinics to close. The eight justices heard the case,Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, last month. It’s unclear both whether they will be able to decide it, and if they can, how a decision will affect other kinds of anti-abortion laws.
Some of what’s been happening in states scattered around the country come under the “you couldn’t make this up” category. There’s the Wisconsin law, struck down by a federal appeals court, that gave doctors a July weekend to put their hospital admitting privileges into compliance.
There’s the bill that Indiana’s governor, Mike Pence, signed last month requiring cremation or burial for aborted or miscarried fetuses. (At the gestational age when most abortions occur, the fetus is about the size of a grape.) Women have been mocking the law by calling Governor Pence’s office to let him know that their menstrual periods have arrived on time. National Review, deploring that protest as “silly,” reassured its readers that “the clear intent of the law is not to jail women who miscarry; it’s to discourage abortion.”